General Question

Ciaolucedelsole's avatar

Stolen trust, assets liquidated, trust recovered, thief deceased, what then?

Asked by Ciaolucedelsole (78points) August 7th, 2012

Scenario: A trust has been stolen by the next of kin, is discovered years later upon that person’s death, but all assets have been liquidated (house sold, etc), what happens?

Would the rightful beneficiary sue the thief’s estate for compensation? Is there any way to get the property back?

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10 Answers

Mr_Paradox's avatar

As you said, sue the estate for the amount of the assests and I also suggest suing for court costs.

gailcalled's avatar

How does someone steal a trust? There are layers of protection and trustees and executors and lawyers and the trust managers and accountants and the IRS.

It is not like a bracelet that is on the floor, unnoticed.

Ciaolucedelsole's avatar

@gailcalled A trust was originally created in the 80s, another in the early 90s. An unsigned copy was found of the 2nd. The original would have been with the lawyer, who sold his practice and the firm who took over had no record of even servicing the deceased. Neither trust were found to be filed in the state’s court system, the first trust originating firm could not be located and because of the presence of the unsigned second trust, it negated the first. In the end all assets were awarded to the estranged next of kin.

We believe that person stole the original signed trust and other documents with the help of an (unsuspecting) police escort when they were found to be removing boxes of documents after the deceased had been hospitalized. Other tenant thought they were intruders and phoned the authorities who then supported the next of kin’s actions.

Hope that made sense!

zenvelo's avatar

Hmmm. I am not a lawyer but I sure don’t see how a 2nd unsigned trust arrangement has any effect at all. The creator changed their mind before agreeing to it. The law firm has no record because it was not in effect.

And no one has an idea of the first trust? How do you know it existed?

You need to demonstrate that there was a first trust and you must be able to demonstrate what its terms were.

I think you are out of luck on this.

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marinelife's avatar

Yes, one could go after the estate of the deceased thief.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
Ciaolucedelsole's avatar

Had 1st trust, no lawyer info, they said it was invalid due to 2nd trust existing “somewhere”. It actually happened in my family. :/ So, not boring movie, real life curiosity. Theif is still alive anyway. Was just curious how it all would work if he passed & the 2nd signed trust was recovered.

marinelife's avatar

@Ciaolucedelsole You need to consult an attorney with experience in wills and trusts.

AngryWhiteMale's avatar

A somewhat similar situation happened in my family. I say let it go… As my mother put it, “It’s blood money.”

However (IANAL, keep in mind), based on my limited knowledge of the law (from a previous incarnation), if you can prove the existence of the original trust and its terms (as @zenvelo has already pointed out), then you probably have a case and could sue the thief, or if they are dead, their estate.

If you do have proof/can support your knowledge of the facts, then don’t waste time here, go see a lawyer instead.

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